GOP, DFL could agree on alternative teacher licenses

  • Blog Post by: Baird Helgeson
  • January 28, 2011 - 1:31 PM

By McKenzie Martin

In what has already proven to be a testy legislative session, Republicans and DFLers said Friday they might be able to find common ground on a proposal to make it easier for schools to hire instructors who don’t have traditional teacher training.

The alternative teacher licensure bill, authored by Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, could get a full House vote as early as next Thursday.

House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, said the proposal could be a win-win situation.

“It’s good for the engineer or the scientist who wants to get in the classroom; it’s also good for kids who really need that help,” Dean said Friday.

DFLers are open to the idea.

“As a parent, what I want is the most confident, smart, committed teacher standing in front of the classroom,” said DFL Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

But Thissen cautioned that the proposal isn’t enough.

“The alternative teacher licensure on its own is not the answer to solving our schools’ problems, what we really need is a much broader reform package,” Thissen said.

Thissen said Minnesotans are looking for more of this type of bipartisan cooperation and was hopeful there will be more areas where they can work together.

“I do think that getting some wins early on the in legislative session where we can agree on things is going to be important,” Thissen said. “We just need to make sure that they make sense for Minnesotans and they’re well thought out.”

Martin is a Star Tribune intern from the University of Minnesota

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